As indicated by those responsible for marine research in Europe in the “Ostend declaration” in 2010, it is a major challenge to support the development of a truly integrated and sustainably funded European oceanographic observing system. This can be achieved with long-term measurements of key parameters but is hampered by the costs and unreliability of oceanographic sensors in general.
The NeXOS project aims to improve the temporal and spatial coverage, resolution and quality of marine observations by developing cost-effective, innovative and interoperable in-situ sensors that can be deployed from multiple platforms and web services for key domains and applications. This will be achieved through the development of new, low-cost, compact and integrated sensors with multiple functionalities including the measurement of key parameters useful for a range of objectives, from more accurate monitoring and modelling of the marine environment to better assessment of fisheries.
Seven new compact and efficient sensors, based on optical and acoustic technologies, will be developed, targeting most of the descriptors identified by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive aimed at achieving good environmental status. Two of the new sensors will specifically contribute to the Common Fisheries Policy with variables relevant to an ecosystem approach to fisheries.
All new sensors will meet cross-platform integration, data and sensor interoperability and quality assurance and reliability requirements. These shall be specified for each new sensor system. All new sensors will be calibrated, integrated into various types of platforms, scientifically validated and demonstrated. Finally, one of the main objectives of NeXOS will be to improve the competitiveness of European SMEs in the marine sensor market. To this end, sensor specifications and requirements will be evaluated at an early stage of the project for market penetration.